Nanoose Bay

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Nanoose Bay
Nanoose Bay is located in British Columbia
Nanoose Bay
Nanoose Bay
Location of Nanoose Bay' in British Columbia
Coordinates: 49°15′N 124°11′W / 49.250°N 124.183°W / 49.250; -124.183Coordinates: 49°15′N 124°11′W / 49.250°N 124.183°W / 49.250; -124.183
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
RegionVancouver Island
Regional DistrictNanaimo
 • Total5,919
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
Area codes250, 778, 236, & 672

Nanoose Bay is a community on the east coast of southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia.[1] The location off BC Highway 19 is by road about 26 kilometres (16 mi) north of Nanaimo, and 16 kilometres (10 mi) south of Parksville.

Name origin[edit]

In 1862, John Enos (Joao Ignacio) became the first European settler on the Nanoose Bay Peninsula.[2][3] The bay was spelled Noonooa on an 1864 map.[4] The current anglicized spelling was adopted by the early 1870s.[5]

The Nanoose First Nation called the peninsula Berry Point. In the early 1800s, a rival tribe massacred many members, who were berry picking. A child survivor was later known as "Nanoose Bob".[3][6]

Nanoose Bay settlement[edit]

The Nanoose Bay community was formerly called Arlington after the Arlington Hotel, the post office name from 1906,[7] until adopting Nanoose Bay in 1916.[8]

In 1957, Yvonne and John Ruggles opened a store on the hill in the Qualicum National Wildlife Area.[9] The modern retail and commercial centre on Collins Cres was called the Red Gap Centre, but nowadays only the supermarket appears to bear that descriptor. A firehall, library, and elementary school exist.


Around 1910, the Nanoose Bay train station opened,[10] and was a flag stop when Via Rail on Vancouver Island ceased in 2011. Adjacent stops were about 18 kilometres (11 mi) south to Wellington, and 11 kilometres (7 mi) north to Parksville.[11] At the railway crossing on Nanoose Beach Rd,[12] not even a signpost marked the flag stop location in its final years.[13]

Neighbouring settlements[edit]

View of Nanoose Bay from Notch Hill

Along NW Bay Rd, was the community of Brynmarl (south of Sanders Rd intersection), which had a post office (1886–1935),[14] stage stop, and train station.[9] The Rocking Horse Pub lies among rural holdings.

In 1911, along today's Powder Point Rd, the peninsula was called "Powder Point" when the Giant Powder Company established a plant, community, and a 4.8-kilometre (3 mi) narrow gauge railway that connected the complex. In 1918, an explosion caused extensive damage, and the plant relocated in 1925.[3][6]

Near the point, at Brickyard Cove, a brick plant existed in 1911. Clay came from the grounds of the present golf course. Bricks intertwine the roots of giant trees in Brickyard Park.[6] At Dolphin Beach, the Fairwinds Schooner Cove Marina has 360 berths.[15]

The ghost town of Red Gap, which was the site of the Straits Lumber Mill 1912–1942, is southeast along the highway.

Military test range[edit]

The Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Test Range (CFMETR) is in a restricted area at the wharf terminus of Powder Point Rd. The joint Canadian-American testing facility for torpedoes and other naval warfare and listening equipment has operated since 1965. During the 1970s and 1980s, a protest camp along the highway targeted the facility.


  1. ^ "Nanoose Bay (community)". BC Geographical Names.
  2. ^ "John Enos of Nanoose Bay".
  3. ^ a b c Paterson, T.W.; Basque, G. (1999). Ghost Towns & Mining Camps of Vancouver Island. Sunfire Publications. p. 47. ISBN 1-895811-80-5.
  4. ^ "Pacific Northwest map, 1864".
  5. ^ "First Victoria Directory 5th Issue, 1874". p. 105 (75).
  6. ^ a b c "Brickyard Cove Water Park Nanoose Bay".
  7. ^ "Arlington Hotel post office".
  8. ^ "Nanoose Bay post office".
  9. ^ a b "PQB History, 20 Oct 2015".
  10. ^ "Daily Colonist, 1 Feb 1911". p. 14.
  11. ^ "2011 Timetable". p. 27 (50).
  12. ^ "Nanoose Bay Train Station".
  13. ^ "Nanoose Bay flag stop, 2009".
  14. ^ "Brynmarl post office".
  15. ^ "Fairwinds Schooner Cove Marina".

External links[edit]